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How can my son get to sleep without listening to tapes?

(18 Posts)
anniekins Mon 06-Jun-11 23:26:02

My son is 9 years old. Since he was very small, I have always put a story tape on at bedtime and he has fallen asleep whilst listening to it. He now has the opportunity to sleep away from the home on sleepovers at friends, school residentials, cub camps etc, but was distraught/homesick on his school trip, had to be collected at night from cub camp and refused to stay at his friends. Infact he is adamant he is never staying away from home ever again.

It turns out that he can't get to sleep without a tape on and it seems this could turn out to be a real barrier to him enjoying time away from home. He went berserk when I suggested he tried to learn to fall asleep without the use of a tape. I think breaking the habit is preferable to falling asleep with earphones in. Has anyone had to break this habit with their children? Any tips would be very gratefully received and tried! Thank you.

Grabaspoon Mon 06-Jun-11 23:28:01

I have the opposite problem - I have just encouraged friends to use a cd player for when their child wakes in the middle of the night - ie putting on the cd when they wake up so they fall asleep again. I know it's a crux that will need to be broken so will watch this with interest.

piprabbit Mon 06-Jun-11 23:33:00

You could try gradually turning the volume down over successive nights - until the tape is all but inaudible.

You could try setting a limit - so that he listens to the tape for 15 mins (for example) and then you come and turn it off before he has actually dropped off.

Or the tape player could mysteriously break and take a few days to be fixed...see if you can break the habit that way.

Or you could try a reward chart - they can be useful for helping with specific behaviours over a limited time period.

anniekins Tue 07-Jun-11 00:00:39

Thanks pip rabbit. They are all great suggestions and I'll work my way through them until one is hopefully successful.

piprabbit Tue 07-Jun-11 00:01:55

Good luck... he'll probably surprise you and settle with no problems.

LovelyJudy Tue 07-Jun-11 00:05:09

we had to do this with dd, but more because she was staying awake for hours listening to them and not dropping off. we did it by going cold turkey, and saying she could have it on fri and sat nights.

however. ds still listens to stuff obsessively at bedtime, he's 11, but he can cope emotionally if it's not available. however, he does usually have an ipod and headphones with him. maybe i've cocked up there. but i always had music on as i was falling asleep, from teenage until ds was born. hmm.

dietcokeandwine Tue 07-Jun-11 22:21:21

I have a similar problem...6 year old DS has always has his music box switched on at bedtime and until recently I just looked on it as a harmless part of the bedtime routine, and joked that he would be taking it to university with him! Until I realised that he had started switching it on again as soon as it had finished (only plays for 10 minutes), and then switching it on again, and again, and again, until he finally falls asleep. He's definitely now in the 'can only fall asleep whilst listening to the music box' trap (will turn it back on if he ever wakes in the middle of the night, which drives me nuts).

So no advice but lots of sympathy and a thank you for prompting me to try and do something about it with DS sooner rather than later - he goes into Y3 in September and school residentials and so on are looming fast! And DS's music box is basically a baby's cot toy blush - it really is time to get rid of it. I like all of piprabbit's solutions though suspect that blatant bribery the reward chart idea is probably going to be the way to go with DS.

anniekins Thu 09-Jun-11 20:45:42

Hi all. Thought I'd let you know how 'tape withdrawal' is going! Decided on the 'turning down the volume' method but after three nights of extensive bedtime negotiations, I've decided to cut what I'm sure was going to be a long, drawn out process short and go straight to the 'cold turkey' method.

I've removed all the CD players in the house up into the attic and we start tonight. At least with the weekend coming up, we can all sleep in if needs be.

...and after we've cracked this one, I'll start on his thumbsucking habit that we've never managed to beat!

piprabbit Thu 09-Jun-11 21:07:28

Good luck with the cold turkey.

And if you come up with a foolproof way of beating thumb sucking, I'd love to hear it grin.

unpa1dcar3r Sat 11-Jun-11 19:08:31

Anniekins; my daughter sucked her thumb til aged 11 (younger daughter had a dummy and never sucked her thumb once we got rid of that at aged 2 so i'm a bit of an advocate for dummies when needed, you can take them away, you can't take a thumb away!) but she suddenly stopped of her own accord at aged 11.
Of course her teeth looked like a horses but a brace soon sorted that out and now she has a smile to die for (she's 22 now)
I wouldn't worry too much, one step at a time and save your energy for the big stuff, that's what I learnt over the years haha.
Good luck with the cold turkey! (must say i prefer it on boxing day with a nice bit of pickle and mash!!!) wink

seeker Sat 11-Jun-11 19:14:19

What's wrong with earphones? If you ahve a volume limiter?

Both on my children have stories to listen to when they are away from home (dd now listens to set books, thereby killing two birds with one stone!) - they have them on their ipods aud use earphones - never been a problem.

naturalbaby Sat 11-Jun-11 22:30:03

I used to suck my thumb till I was 11 I think, but it didn't affect my teeth so I was lucky. My parents got me a night time brace with hooks to stop me doing it but I just took it out! I don't see why you need to try and stop it to be honest. I have vivid memories of that time as a child and remember realising myself that I didn't want to do it anymore because it was 'babyish' after seeing a friend's older sister sucking her thumb and thinking she was far too old to be doing it.

beachholiday Sat 11-Jun-11 22:54:11

If you dont want earphones, various ipod-pillows are available.

We use a zippable pillow case on my sons ipod pillow so even the wire is inside and wont get around his neck. Ipod pillows are quite discreet for sleepovers etc, and not "babyish" if that is your worry.

It seems a lot of stress for your son to contemplate this at the moment, and may get blown up into an even bigger stumbling block in his mind if he has to give it up before he's ready. Being stressed going to sleep is not great.

seeker Sun 12-Jun-11 11:17:39

PLEASE donl;t take his story tapes away - if it ain't broke don;t fix it should be our parenting mantra!

anniekins Sun 12-Jun-11 15:31:28

Is it possible we've cracked it in only 3 nights! The first night was very traumatic but the next two have been very calm and he has fallen asleep within 15 mins of lights out. He's also very proud of himself in the mornings. Well done pip rabbit, you said he may surprise us and settle to it really easily. Early days I know, but he seems to have done just that.

Seeker - I felt I had to do something about it as it is preventing him fully taking part in his social life. He was so looking forward to all these overnight visits, that he was confused himself as to why he couldn't cope when he was there. The future deal is when we consider the problem well and truly beaten, he will be allowed story tapes on Fridays and Saturdays - so they've not been entirely removed from his life but hopefully enough for him not to slip back into bad habits.

As to the thumb sucking, I have decided to do absolutely nothing about this one. We tried 2 years ago every trick in the book including the expensive thumbguard, which he ate! Quite literally, nibbled away the plastic till he gained access to his thumb. As his dentist said, we'll just have to deal with it orthodontically at a later date. After reading many other posters experiences, it seems this one is out of our control.

seeker Sun 12-Jun-11 17:48:03

Don't understand why he can't listen to storu tapes while he is away from home - my children do. It helps if they wake up in the night too.

anniekins Sun 12-Jun-11 21:36:00

Well both school and cubs ask that no electronic devises are taken and if one does it, even with good reason, they'll all be wanting to take their iPods.

piprabbit Sun 12-Jun-11 22:07:38

anniekins, I'm so pleased that your DS has worked with you on this and is being so sensible and mature. Long may it last.

<raises glass of wine to many, successful future overnight trips>

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